Populations at Risk Across the Lifespan: Case Studies
Experiences of Municipal Public Health Nurses Following Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster
Version of Record online: 8 JUL 2014
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Public Health Nursing
Volume 31, Issue 6, pages 517–525, November/December 2014
How to Cite
Kayama, M., Akiyama, T., Ohashi, A., Horikoshi, N., Kido, Y., Murakata, T. and Kawakami, N. (2014), Experiences of Municipal Public Health Nurses Following Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster. Public Health Nursing, 31: 517–525. doi: 10.1111/phn.12140
- Issue online: 21 NOV 2014
- Version of Record online: 8 JUL 2014
- Japanese Ministry of the Environment
- nuclear accident;
- public health nurse;
- qualitative research
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of municipal public health nurses in the wake of the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami and resulting nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, from the time of the disaster until December 2013.
Design and Sample
Thirty-two public health nurses working in three cities in Fukushima prefecture were divided into four focus groups and took part in interviews, which were analyzed using a qualitative descriptive method.
Two major themes were extracted: (1) experiences of difficulties and dilemmas, and (2) professional challenges and the meaning of excellence as a public health nurse. Subjects recounted their experiences based on the timeline of events. The process of overcoming various dilemmas—between prescribed roles and actual needs on the ground, being both civil servants and private citizens with families, and having to be publicly accountable while lacking adequate information—caused participants to reexamine the meaning of excellence in the practice of public health.
The strenuous and complex demands of extended disaster management caused subjects to grow professionally. Helping them process their emotions should also help these nurses give focus to their posttraumatic growth, and strengthen their sense of professionalism.